Lagos goes tough on street gates and barricades

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

Lagos State Government has given a seven-day ultimatum to Community Development Associations (CDAs) to open street gates and barricades or risk punitive actions from the authorities.

This directive was read out at a press conference organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs in Ikeja.

The Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Mr Muslim Olohuntele-Folami who read out the riot act said that government would not hesitate to pull down the street gates and barricades in the event of non-compliance on the part of any CDA.

Mr Olohuntele-Folami stressed that “all gated and barricaded streets should henceforth be regulated and opened to the public from 5:30 am to 12 midnight and should only be closed between 12 midnight and 5:30am.”

Rationale behind directive

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Community Affairs- Mr Tajudeen Quadri during the press conference affirmed that the gates and barricades constituted obstructions to traffic and emergency responders especially in streets meant to serve as thoroughfares or link routes.

“These barricades, though well intended, constitutes obstructions to traffic, especially in areas where such street gates or barricades are on roads meant to serve as thoroughfares; apart from the bottlenecks, they have become hurdles that the police, fire engines and vehicles on emergency have to scale when carrying out their legitimate duties,” Mr Quadri added.

The Senior Special Assistant also noted that some gates were permanently closed while the streets had become parking lots and mechanic workshops. According to Quadri, “some street gates being closed just because of social functions.”

No witch-hunt

Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the governor on Community and Communications- Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan maintained that government’s directive was not meant to target anybody.

Mr Bamigbetan assured that government was committed to the security of the people in all nooks and crannies stressing that the move would not jeopardise anybody’s life but save lives.

No sacred cow

While responding to questions on selective enforcement, Messrs Olohuntele-Folami and Quadri said there would be no sacred cow in the enforcement as any form of non-compliance would be meted with serious action from law enforcement agencies.

Shifawu Ogundeji said the CDCs were ready to convey the directive to CDAs and ensure full compliance.

Mrs Ogundeji hinted that the CDCs were already in partnership with the Police through the Police Community Relations Committee for smooth enforcement.